The Kennedys: why we are so obsessed with the American political dynasty

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The Kennedy family is the closest thing Americans have had to a Royal family.

From their Hyannis Port compound, where the rambunctious Kennedy children would play touch football and go sailing while Joseph Kennedy planned world political domination for his talented children, they seemed a family blessed with ambition, intelligence, athleticism and good looks.

They embodied the American dream: an Irish immigrant family that in a mere two generations achieved the most powerful position in the world by the time John F Kennedy became President in 1961.

But most importantly, it was the family's tragedies that kept the American public – and the Western world at large -fascinated.

Seemingly, no family in the public eye had ever been besieged by so much misfortune. It is still believed by some that the family was cursed.

First there was Rosemary Kennedy, whowas lobotomised in 1941 at the request of her father, Joseph. Her parents were told the treatment would help calm her mood swings....

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